Self ❤️ Care
There are a lot of causes undoubtedly worthy of bringing to light: things that need taking care of by Others. I think of human trafficking, of the perils of war-torn peoples, of migrants, of so-called illegals, and those living in peripheral shadows in fear of identity and consequential inequity in treatment whether national, ethnic, racial, religious, gender or other isolating factor(s). Causes needing advocates.
Self-care might not seem to be one of these, and yet there is something in it that troubles me, as an underlying problem that reaches across various boundaries. It's a "buzz word," mostly farcical, lacking in substance, that I'm hearing floating, and it is I believe in need of someone to actually stand behind it. I notice that "leadership" have administratively adopted proactive rhetoric-- as if speaking of something addresses the problem in itself.
"We care for you, remember to self-care! your patients, guests, customers, sufferers, etc. are needing your care and services! so take care of yourself as well!" is the exclamation at the end of professional development "training," geared towards public servants, which fails to address with any intent how that should be done? The words dissipate into the wind.
In my observation it is all too common that caretakers do not know, neither instinctively nor by training, how to take care of themselves while taking care of groups or individuals who are ill, traumatized, or suffering from other impairment, grievance or loss. I call to mind burnt out group home managers, hospice workers, human and animal shelter employees, among others, even in less extreme cases, such as struggling parents or grandparents.
It is notable, but ignored, that the self-sacrificing are exactly that: self-sacrificing.
I've determined, that to help correct this imbalance, I can support the service of others in difficult decisions that feel counter to ethics. I mean personal ethics. For instance, I know from observation over years that the hard-working individual feels great shame in taking a sick day, never mind a mental health day. I'd like to advocate that individuals take every day off allotted to them with self-permission. Not with arrogance ("I earned it"); but with grace ("forbearance and maintenance"). Also, that they set boundaries; rather than expect 24/7 mental or physical operation, in whatever public service.
I realize that the guilt and self-beratement, internally, is difficult to overcome, but perhaps having support from an ordinary person on the street, even if only a single banner of solidarity, not so much Protest, might potentially provide that moment of recollection for a few, and eventually a few more, that all Selves are important and in need of respectable treatment. I mean Self-Respect.
Holding up a single sign seems a feeble effort, and perhaps I delude myself that those so burdened, with the problems of others, would see a heart as a one held up for themselves? A risk, one might counter, because those who are "pretenders" may arguably use this banner as excuse to put in less effort. But, then again, those are not the individuals I am concerned about, nor standing for-- the half-hearted it seems always know how to take care of themselves.